Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Does a burned book argue as well as a read one?

Susan Jacoby on the religion blog at The Washington Post argues that burning sacred books (or any books for that matter) is anti-intellectual, even when it's endorsed by fellow atheists:

Burning books--and yes, ripping out offensive pages--is designed to express contempt, whether the contempt emanates from an individual or a government. It is also an expression of the intellectual bankruptcy of the practicioner [sic]

She sees book-burning as evidence of dialogic laziness. The real rhetorical work of converting believers into unbelievers, in her case, requires claims backed by good reasons; to convert someone you write books, not burn them.

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